Legal Aid Society (LAS) in collaboration with Gilgit Baltistan Judicial Academy (GBJA) will draft the legislative framework for alternative dispute resolution and capacity building and sensitization of judicial officers across Gilgit Baltistan to reduce the burden of caseload on judiciary thereby reducing time and cost of dispute resolution of litigants and disputants and increasing the efficiency of courts.
Chief Legal Advisor of Legal Aid Society, Justice Arif Hussain Khilji, former Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Mr. Ghulam Abbas Choppa, Registrar Gilgit Baltistan Chief Court, signed the MoU in Karachi. Chief Judge Gilgit Baltistan Chief Court, Mr. Ali Baig was also present on the occasion.
The proposed collaboration is rooted in the pursuit of strengthening the justice system through legislation, building on existing frameworks and utilizing knowledge bases for fair and expeditious resolution of issued faced by the citizen. LAS recognizes the fact that justice sector professionals are responsible for ensuring citizens’ access to justice and improving rule of law in the country. This is of utmost important in a region like Gilgit Baltistan where terrain and harsh weather hinders citizens’ access to justice institutions. Meanwhile, it also becomes imperative to complement the efforts of the state to provide justice at the door steps of citizens without delay and extra cost.
Through this initiative, LAS in collaboration with GBJA will design ADR training curriculum for the Judges in Gilgit Baltistan with an emphasis on the importance of ADR, ADR specific legislative reforms and procedural details of court – annexed mediation. This initiative will also help in establishing state recognized ADR system in Gilgit Baltistan as there is no such mechanism available in Gilgit Baltistan as per the findings of recently carried out Scoping Study by LAS. In addition, LAS will train at least 28 judges across Gilgit Baltistan on ADR. These initiatives will help in diverting the cases towards ADR mechanisms thus reducing the burden of caseloads on courts and providing expeditious justice to disputants.
LAS and Gilgit Baltistan Chief Court will also establish a referral system to provide legal assistance to the residents of Gilgit Baltistan residing in Karachi. Gilgit Baltistan Chief Court will nominate a focal person in this regard who will be coordinating with LAS to facilitate the people of GB in facing the legal issues at Thana (police station) level.